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Park City mayor plans immigration letter to congressional delegation

Tightened policies under Donald Trump could disrupt the local economy

by Jay Hamburger
THE PARK RECORD

Jack Thomas, the mayor of Park City, said on Monday he intends to write a letter to the city’s congressional delegation in coming weeks addressing the prospects of the federal government tightening immigration policies once Donald Trump ascends to the White House.

Thomas said he has not yet drafted the letter. He plans to send the letter to the delegation by the end of the year, however. The two senators and congressman who represent Park City — Sen. Orrin Hatch, Sen. Mike Lee and Rep. Rob Bishop — are Republicans.

Thomas by Monday had a broad outline of topics he plans to cover in the letter, but he had not finalized details. He said the message to the delegation will describe that Latinos and Hispanics are important members of the work force of a resort community like Park City. He said if the incoming Trump administration was to “flip the switch” on tightened immigration policies there would be a “major disruption of our economy.” Thomas acknowledged it is unclear what policies Trump will pursue once in office and said the president-elect has appeared to step back some of the statements he made during the campaign, including those about a wall Trump wants built on the Mexican border.

Latinos began arriving in the Park City area in large numbers in the 1990s, drawn by a robust economy and the prospects of employment in the resort, restaurant and construction industries. It is estimated up to 25 percent of the population of the Park City area is Latino. City Hall, religious organizations and not-for-profit organizations have pursued bridge-building efforts for more than 20 years with varying degrees of success. Thomas has worked with a group known as PC Unidos, which is advancing Latino and Hispanic issues in the area.

Thomas said he has not heard from people who are “panicked or fearful” about the incoming administration. He said Park City will operate as it does now regarding immigration laws once Trump takes office. He said Park City is “welcoming and compassionate” to the Latino community.

“We don’t make an extra effort seeking out those who are undocumented. We don’t have the time or resources to do so, or even the charge,” the mayor also said.

He said the Police Department will continue to focus on violent or serious crimes, including domestic violence and drug trafficking, or people who are convicted felons.

“We’re not changing the way we operate the city, the way we enforce laws,” Thomas said.

The mayor will draft the letter to the congressional delegation amid worries among Latinos about the policies of a Trump administration. The letter will also be drafted shortly after a gathering planned on Friday that will address immigration issues. It was organized by PC Unidos.

Thomas is scheduled to offer welcoming remarks during the Friday event. Panelists are expected to include attorneys who specialize in immigration laws and members of law enforcement. Phil Kirk, a Police Department captain, is one of the law enforcement figures scheduled to appear at the event.

A release announcing the event on Friday says “following the national election, many Latinos in the community felt an initial reaction of fear and questions surrounding their status, and they have been asking questions about what guarantees they have, if any.”

The event is scheduled from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. in the community room of the St. Mary’s Catholic Church on S.R. 224.


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